Dec. 6, 2011
FORT WALTON BEACH, Fla. -
Standing 6 feet, 5 inches tall, weighing 311 pounds, it's tough to miss Alabama junior offensive lineman Barrett Jones. The versatile, All-American is widely lauded as one of the best players in the country for his play on the field. But his work off the field - both in the classroom and in the community - is often overlooked. It certainly didn't get by the All Sports Association, who named Jones the winner of the 2011 Wuerffel Trophy.
The award, named after former Fort Walton Beach and Florida Gator standout, Danny Wuerffel, is presented annually to the Football Bowl Subdivision player that best combines exemplary community service with academic and athletic achievement. Jones was presented with news of the award by Wuerffel himself Monday afternoon via conference call.
"I'm very honored," Jones said. "It means a lot. I've read a little bit about this award and I'm very blessed and honored to be selected."
Jones' achievements off the field and in the classroom have not gone unnoticed by Alabama coach Nick Saban.
"Barrett's about as fine a young man as I've ever had the opportunity to coach," Saban said, "so I'm excited about it and pleased and I know he will be too."
Jones, an accounting major who graduated in August with a 4.0 GPA, is now working towards a masters in accounting. The All-SEC lineman is extremely active in the community as well. Jones has made two mission trips to Haiti to help people struggling with daily life and to help build a school and orphanage. He has actively participated in tornado cleanup in Tuscaloosa and worked with countless other community organizations in his time at Alabama.
"I think being a student athlete is a lot about time management," Jones said. "You really have to learn how to balance your time and prioritize the things you think are important. Personally, I think community service and things of that nature are things I put very high on that list. I really enjoy doing mission work, in Haiti, especially the last few years. I think that's something my parents instilled in me."
Jones was selected from an esteemed field of finalists, including: Matt Barkley (USC), Robert Griffin III (Baylor), Chandler Harnish (Northern Illinois), Kirk Cousins (Michigan State), Emmanuel Acho (Texas), Cody Wilson (Central Michigan), Dawson Zimmerman (Clemson), Dustin Hopkins (Florida State), Drew Butler (Georgia), Stuart Hines (Kentucky), Ben Buchanan (Ohio State) and Gilbert "Chaz" Hine (South Florida). Jones also joins an impressive group of previous winners, including last year's recipient Sam Acho of Texas, Tim Hiller (Western Michigan - 2009), Tim Tebow (Florida - 2008), Paul Smith (Tulsa - 2007), Joel Penton (Ohio State - 2006) and Rudy Niswanger (LSU - 2005).
The formal presentation of the award will take place Feb. 17, 2012, at the 43rd Annual All Sports Association Awards Dinner at the Emerald Coast Convention Center in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.
"I feel extremely blessed and fortunate to receive a trophy that's named after (Wuerffel)," Jones said, "just because I know what he's accomplished on and off the field. It really is a very special honor for me."